Report: Injury hit Swans equal worst start to season since 1993

Well, it's our equal worst start to the season since 1993, losing their fourth game in a row in season 2017.

A win would have kept our top 4 chances alive, but coming back from 0-4 is just not going to happen. It also puts our top 8 chances at risk, with a tough game next up to GWS.

Pre-game

Callum Sinclair was forced to ruck solo for most of the match, with Sam Naismith injuring his knee during the week and Tippett failing to pass fitness tests. Darcy Cameron also injured his shoulder last weekend and wasn't available for selection.

Cunningham and Papley came in for Naismith and Dawson (omitted).

The Game

The Swans started brightly in the first quarter, winning the first two clearances and locking the ball in their forward half. Under intense pressure, the Eagles struggled to work the ball out of their defence. Even with their pressure, and created turn overs, the Swans movement inside 50 was their achilles heel, unable to score a goal.

Then the sucker punch. The Eagles got a long ball forward to an even contest, and even though the Swans won the ball, Grundys' attempted pass to Hewett was a shank. Immediately under pressure, he attempted to hand ball back to Grundy, but was intercepted by Hill and the Eagles scored their 1st of the game.

It certainly wasn't to be the only goal from turn overs, and even though the Swans rebounded and put on immense pressure, they could only score a point. It wasn't long before a Kennedy hospital hand ball to Aliir signalled the Swans turn over potential, then the Eagles got another goal from another turn over, leading 13 - 1.

The Swans doubled down and kept the ball locked in their half. Even though they trailed by 2 goals, they lead the inside 50s 7-4, with a massive differential of time spent in forward half. Fox and Cunningham combined to score the Swans first goal of the quarter, then Foote put through his first AFL goal to bring the Swans back to 1 point.

The Eagles came out hard in the 2nd quarter and matched the Swans across the ground, putting pressure on Grundy and creating a turn over almost immediately, almost scoring. Even though the Swans started to move the ball well from defence, and Papley hit the post, the Eagles always threatened to blow it wide open.

Franklin, who'd received a knock in the first quarter from Shannon Hurn shirt front, was held in front of goal and put it through, putting the Swans in front. But it wasn't to last, with the Eagles in the lead just 90 seconds later. Kieren Jack gave away a poor 50m penalty running through the protected zone, but Kennedy couldn't capitalise.

The defence was poor across the board, Grundy and Smith turning it over almost every time they had it, and even though Aliir was creating run, he looked raw and lost. Then Smith tried a check side kick outside of the goal square when he had 3 options open on his left, and kicked it straight to Kennedy. He side stepped Grundy and Smith and put it through, extending the lead to 10.

Papley immediately goaled, bring it back to 4, but once again, calamitous defending lead to another goal. The Eagles lead at half-time by 2 goals. They were well on top in the game at that stage, leading the quarter inside 50s 16-9, and scoring 5.4 of 5.9 from turn overs.

And it didn't get any better for the Swans in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles came out fierce and the Eagles immediately goaled. Hannebery, having a poor night, dished out a shocker hand ball to Parker, who turned it over and the Eagles made them pay.

Swans' heads dropped across the field, the pressure dropped, and the Eagles were playing uncontested football. Forward half pressure was gone and they walked it out at will. But the Swans weren't done just yet, with Hayward setting up Franklin in the goal square with a lovely kick from the pocket. He promptly goaled and the Swans lifted.

The Hayward-Franklin combination looked like it was starting to play dividends. Hayward picked out Franklin in the centre square with a lovely side foot pass down low, who hit Kieren Jack on the run on the left forward flank. He dodged two players, shifted it inside and picked out Florent in front of goal. He put it through the Swans closed the gap again.

But poor disposal hurt the Swans, butchering it across the field. Jones was providing plenty of run out of the back, but every time it went forward, his team mates contrived to turn it over at almost every opportunity. Duly, the Eagles kicked another goal. But the Swans, still clinging on, got another back. Franklin trapped the ball with some smooth basketball skills, fed it to Reid, who laid a delightful ball inside to Florent. He put it through from 40m out and it was once again, back to 2 goals.

But it wasn't to continue, with the Eagles dominating the last half of the quarter. The Swans kept butchering the ball across the field, and even though Hayward looked dangerous up forward, the Swans couldn't move it efficiently, or effectively. They were well down at 3 quarter time, dominated in the middle with hardly any pressure across the game. Sinclair lead the Swans with 5 clearances.

The Swans worked their way back into the game early in the 4th, kicking the first goal of the quarter through the immensely impressive Hayward. But then the Eagles got one back almost immediately. Elliot Yeo was taking the piss down back, racking up a ton of possessions with little pressure. The Swans had a great opportunity to go forward, with Hayward leading up to Jack, but all he could do was almost shin it on the full, way wide of Hayward. It went wider than it went forward, it was a truly poor attempted pass.

Then Le Cras stupidly took out Aliir after he disposed the ball. It went high and knocked him down. Although he returned and played out the game, there's no way that Le Cras escapes punishment. It got even better, after he dropped an absolute sitter on the 50m arc, Jones rebounded with verve and vigour, running the ball on the wing, working it forward to Lloyd. He stepped up and put through a big time goal from 55, bring it back to 6 points.

But that was as close as it got for the Swans. The Eagles booted two quick goals in less than 2 minutes, with serial ducker Shuey getting a soft free kick on the boundary and Kennedy getting a gimme.

And then I couldn't be bothered, I tuned out while the Eagles kept kicking goals, while writing this. Reid got one back right at the end of the game, and the Swans finished off a particularly poor game 26 points down.

Medical Room

Hannebery looked like he went down with his knee in the 3rd quarter
Franklin corkie on his right thigh, 1st quarter

Next Up

Well, it doesn't get any more challenging than a rampant GWS team. It was a limp performance, and GWS will punish the Swans if they dish that up again.

West Coast Eagles
2.25.99.1013.1391
Sydney Swans
2.24.37.410.565

Best
Kennedy, Lloyd, Franklin, Hewett, Jones, Parker

Goals
Hayward 2, Franklin 2, Lloyd, Reid, Cunningham, Foote, Florent, Papley

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia http://theswansblog.com

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